WEEKLY ROUND-UP (29.04.24) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Frankenstein, Georgia-Mae Myers and Nedum Okonyia, image by Ed Waring

Every week we pull together some of the best events taking place across the region, from music and theatre, to comedy, art and film. Read more on these, and other events, in the latest issue of NARC. magazine in print and online.

In a multimedia twist on the tale of the prevailing human desire to play God, the heart of gothic literature comes to Newcastle’s Northern Stage from Tuesday 30th-Thursday 2nd May in a touching, yet disturbing production.
Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Mary Shelley, imitating the dog and Leeds Playhouse have banded together to create their own powerful depiction of Frankenstein, with contemporary dance choreography, compelling special effects and outstanding acting. In this new production, a couple who are fearful of the concept of parenthood that looms over them find that the story of Frankenstein is forged into the fabric of their lives with every second of this captivating creation. With a stormy atmosphere brewing in the background, an ordinary home transforms for the audience, with typical objects morphing before the couple’s eyes into the unexpected, offering an unprecedented rendition of a heart-wrenching psychological thriller. The captivating philosophy of human nature will be laid bare before your eyes, begging the question: what is it to be human?
Tuesday 30th-Thursday 2nd May @ Northern Stage, Newcastle

Joanna Manousis
The British-American artist known is for her monumental and intimate-scale sculptures in glass, mirror and mixed media. New exhibition Iris Obscura presents an innovative exploration of mirrored glass as a medium for artistic expression.
Thursday 2nd-Friday 24th May @ Abject Gallery, Sunderland

Loose Articles
Promoters Summer Fruit Records and Little Miss Music Promo seek to platform the North’s rock music talent, especially from women and marginalised genders. Expect a raucous performance from Manchester’s high-energy feminist punks Loose Articles, plus Queer rage from Newcastle’s Gaydar and Teesside’s indie grunge band The Wednesday Flowers.
Thursday 2nd May @ The Georgian Theatre, Stockton

Image: The Hightowns by Kit Haigh

The Hightowns
The Hightowns are a relatively recent outfit but also a supergroup of sorts. Ben Holland and Pete Moffat are best known for Winter Hill Transmission, who won a lot of love a few years back before calling it a day. They’re both playing acoustic guitars and singing gorgeous harmonies in a band that also includes Neil Hopper (double bass) and Katja Roberts (violin) from the marvellous Tyneside-meets-French Quarter jazz band The House of The Black Gardenia, and Tom Bacon – another Winter Hill alumnus – on drums.
The Hightowns came about through Ben and Pete’s deep affection for the Everly Brothers and it shows: their debut album Stories In The Walls (which they’re self-releasing on 4th May) is soaked in that gorgeous harmony style, which fits beautifully with the small-town storytelling of the songs (they’ve cited John Prine and Jake Thackray as influences, which is always a good sign). Katja’s mother is the acclaimed Finnish photographer Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen and it’s her work that has influenced the charming album art by Ben and also perhaps the content of the songs too. Recorded live in Thropton, the album is a warm, melodic affair and it’s getting a warm, melodic launch gig to boot. The Hightowns will be joined by the divine Brick and Americana-tinged songwriter Sam Shields at North Shields Catholic Club on Saturday 4th May for what promises to be a fine old time.
Saturday 4th May @ North Shields Catholic Club

Roulette Fest
Titularly inspired by the ‘gamble’ of genres taking place, Roulette Festival at Sunderland’s Independent promises a varied and eclectic mix of both new and established North Eastern talent on Saturday 4th May. A brand-new festival curated by students of Northern Academy of Music Education, a division of Sunderland University, the group behind the event intend to give back to the music scene within the city, as well as further nurturing a sense of community considerate of self-expression and musical individuality.
Taking place at centrally located Independent, the multi-stage venue will be host to an exciting array of local acts, spanning indie surf band Calvoas, captivatingly memorable rock ‘n’ roll group Pretty Velvet, hardcore metal band Divine Image, and upbeat singer-songwriter twins Twayn, alongside Lily Mac, Labyrinthine Oceans, Rascal, Ruby Kelly and more. The wide span of musical genres ensure a day where all audiences can discover some great local music.
Saturday 4th May @ Independent, Sunderland

Following an OFFIE-nominated run at the Royal Albert Hall in London and winning a Fringe Award in Edinburgh’s 2022 nominations, non-binary songwriter, beatboxer and looping champion SK Shlomo brings their acclaimed BREATHE show to The Glasshouse on Sunday 5th May.
Somewhere between a play, concert and a rave, the show is an autobiographical account following a series of tumultuous years for the performer, and details how musicality led them through these difficult times in a profound way. At the forefront of this narrative, portrayed through both story-telling and music, the one-person show is a celebration which highlights Shlomo’s versatility and resilience. Alongside the performance, the new album sharing the title of BREATHE soundtracks the rave-centric atmosphere of the show, putting a deeply emotionally charged experience within the soundscape of the story.
As an artist, SK Shlomo is best known for their beatboxing talents which have brought them international acclaim, performing alongside Björk, Imogen Heap and Ed Sheeran, the latter being brought out during their Glastonbury set. Following this dabble into the mainstream, a period of introspection and ultimately recovering, it was rave culture and music that ultimately had the healing power to allow SK Shlomo to return to the stage.
Sunday 5th May @ The Glasshouse, Gateshead.

Image: SK Shlomo by Nathan Gallagher

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